The Last Romantic: The Life of George Frederick Clarke, Master Storyteller of New Brunswick

The Last Romantic: The Life of George Frederick Clarke, Master Storyteller of New Brunswick

by Mary Bernard

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Overview

George Frederick Clarke (1883-1974) was a man of the St. John River Valley and a true romantic. From the age of 8 he was determined to become a writer, and a writer he became, against great odds. Clarke is best known for his classic salmon fishing memoirs and for his book on archaeology and First Nation People. But he also published novels, histories, poetry, children’s books, and dozens of short stories.


He created a body of work full of adventure and romance. But the story of his life is as extraordinary as anything he wrote, full of contradictions: a romantic idealist who was intensely practical, a man devoted to family who nearly left his wife and daughters for his lover and their son—a love affair that shocked and polarised his hometown of Woodstock, New Brunswick. He rose above the scandal by sheer force of character.


By the 1960s he was one of the best-known men in New Brunswick, the “great-hearted old man” whom the poet Alden Nowlan knew and loved. He was a strong advocate for his Maliseet First Nation friends. He was a fierce opponent of the Mactaquac dam, which destroyed the St. John as a salmon river. He is considered a pioneer of the conservation movement.


This is no ordinary biography; it has the pace of a lively novel. Mary Bernard’s vivid portrayal of Clarke’s life and times includes a full discussion of his published works in the context of their cultural setting.


The Last Romantic adds a significant chapter to the history of New Brunswick and to the larger story of Canadian cultural identity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780993672552
Publisher: Chapel Street Editions
Publication date: 09/08/2015
Pages: 474
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 1.06(d)

About the Author

Mary Bernard is George Frederick Clarke's granddaughter. She was born in Quebec in 1941. For many years she spent summers at her grandparents' home in Woodstock, NB. She studied at the University of New Brunswick and at Harvard and Cambridge. A writer and photographer, she is the author of two novels, Truth and Consequences and Friends and Lovers.
She is the editor of the George Frederick Clarke Project and ispreparing his books for republication by Chapel Street Editions. She livesin England.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations...i
Foreword by Keith Helmuth...v
Preface: George Frederick Clarke by Alden Nowlan...vii
Introduction...xi
Acknowledgements...xv
I 1883-1903: Childhood and Youth...1
1: A Lost Sister...3
2: The Moving Finger...7
3: Woodstock...12
4: Wild Tales...16
5: Bushwhacked...18
6: Kirkpatrick to the Rescue...22
II 1904-1909: The Young Man...31
7: Professor Clarke, Hypnotist...33
8: On the Road...38
9: "The world was mine"...43
10: A Romance of the Backwoods...48
11: Stories and Sweethearts...51
12: Kirkpatrick Sells Up...57
III 1911-1919: College, Marriage, Children...65
13: Noel Polchies...67
14: Fred Goes to College...72
15: The Most Beautiful Girl in Philadelphia...76
16: Fred Chooses Woodstock...83
17: Crow's Nest...88
18: Daughter o' Mine...94
19: The Vision Splendid...96
Photographs-Part One...101
IV 1920-1925: The First Three Books...119
20: Taffa...121
21: The Camp at the Forks...130
22: The Happiest Baby...134
23: Into the Woods...138
24: Two Years, Four Books...142
25: Mary's Resistance...150
V 1925-1929: The Affair...155
26: "I will give you a son"...157
27: A Man Possessed...162
28: Crisis...167
29: A Pure Woman...172
30: A Son...177
31: Too Much Divorce...182
32: The End of the Affair...187
VI 1930-1936: Aftermath...191
33: The Aftermath...193
34: A Settled Life...199
35: Indian Rights, Noel Moulton...204
36: An Inner Voice...210
37: A Torrent of Verse...214
38: John Harris and Tomah...220
Photographs-Part Two...229
VII 1933-1947: Deaths, Digging, Children...247
39: Souls for Comfort...249
40: Dither and Drama...256
41: Tappan Comes to Woodstock...262
42: Doc Clarke's War...266
43: Frederick Comes to Woodstock...270
44: Fred's Children...273
VII 1948-1959: Writing Again...279
45: Unblocked...281
46: Tappan's Betrayal...283
47: Peter Paul...288
48: Dees Has a Son...299
49: The Adventures of Jimmy-Why and the Acadians Pamphlet...306
50: Too Small a World and Nol and Jimmy-Why...309
IX 1960-1969: The Grand Old Man...315
51: Six Salmon Rivers-and Another...317
52: Rendezvous with Madeline...324
53: The Song of the Reel...327
54: Mactaquac: an Affair of Dishonour...331
55: Fred Frets...339
56: The Honorary Degree...346
X 1970-1974: The Final Years...351
57: Downhill...353
58: The End...358
Home to Woodstock: an Afterword...369
Abbreviations Used in the Notes and in the List of Works Cited...373
Sources of Illustrations...377
Works Cited...379
Notes...397
Index...433

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